Hello, 2016.

Written on February 18, 2016

I’ve been fan of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast for years. I appreciate his candor in discussing personal struggles with depression, creativity, consciousness building, career expectations, self-loathing and self-destructive tendencies because I’ve experienced, and continue to experience, many of these same struggles in life.

At the end of the December, he interviewed comedian Bill Burr. It wasn’t the interview that stuck with me… it was the preamble about reflection and the anticipation of a new year. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now. I’ve transcribed those few opening minutes below, edited for clarity:

“There’s gotta be some gratitude. There’s gotta be some self acceptance. Give yourself a break. Don’t hurt yourself tonight. It’s a little recovery trick– make a gratitude list… But maybe just reflect a little bit on what you might do differently but also what you’re grateful for. And if you have love in your heart, or in your life, be fucking thankful for that… if you’re capable of that and it exists within you. Maybe things will turn out better– globally, politically, financially for you or whatever, but strip it all away. Fuck politics, you know, fuck the world, fuck your money problems. Fuck your broken heart. And just find that little bit of space within yourself that is truly you, and give it a little pat on its little head and say, ‘we’re okay and there are a lot of things in life that make it amazing.'”

Transcribed, it’s a little less than poetry. With Maron, it’s always about the delivery anyway.

I haven’t made my gratitude list yet. I’m not quite there. I’ve been too busy, literally, to think things through. It’s an intentional, manic busy-ness. It may be a coping mechanism, but for now, that’s what I can do. It’s all I can do. And that’s okay.

Just keep driving, miles upon miles, mending old wounds opened once again.

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Goodbye, 2015.

Written on December 31, 2015

Goodbye, 2015. I will not miss you.

This was an exceptionally difficult year with few highlights. In May, I completed the Professional Printer Training Program at Tamarind, which was somewhat underwhelming. In April, I lost Alabama, my 13 year old cat, to congestive heart failure and endured the singular most difficult day of my life in the wake of his death. Less than a month later, Montana, my 15 year old cat was diagnosed with sinus cancer. He’s sitting by my side now and we’re taking it day by day. After the PPT program, I started a 6,200 + mile road trip; dear friend Erin Oly drove with me during the first leg from Albuquerque to Olympia, with Montana in tow. I stayed in town for two weeks, hosted by the ever lovely Hukee and Melanie. I taught a couple workshops in town at Pope Press and at at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon Coast before unexpectedly heading east through a horrific heatwave. I stopped in Milwaukee and visited with friend Adam and Team Nerd Letterpress before heading to Buffalo to help my grandmother pack up her house of 45 years. Louisville was the next stop, visiting my folks for the first time in several years. In July, back in Albuquerque, I was offered a job in Arizona, which I accepted out of financial desperation. In the span of a month, I packed up everything I owned or donated it to charity. Two-thirds of my stuff currently resides in an Albuquerque storage locker, including my entire print studio. In August I moved to Flagstaff. Within two weeks, a friend committed suicide and my family learned that my Grandmother has stage IV cancer, which she has chosen not to treat. In September, I started teaching a huge course load of five classes, totaling 90 students. In November, I flew back to Buffalo to visit my Grandmother. December rounded the year out nicely for me by getting dumped, having a skin biopsy, being bitten by a dog, and spending the holidays acting as a hospice provider for my now-ailing, elderly cat.

The few highlights of 2015 include the self-publication of my artist book, “Dead Wrestlers: Their Words,” the beautiful litho press and lot of stones I bought from Evergreen at auction, and the nice fellow I dated until said December dumping.

Bring on the New Year. Please.

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Alabama and Montana, in healthier days, beginning of 2015. Albuquerque, NM

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Some of the Tamarind Crew outside of Frontier, February 2015, Albuquerque, NM (Danielle, Amanda, Candice and Jackie).

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Joel Brazzel during spring break in March 2015, at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas.

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Last day with Alabama, April 2, 2015. I was a wreck.

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Sleater-Kinney in Albuquerque, May 2015– a much needed respite.

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Somewhere in Oregon, May 2015– break out from Albuquerque and the beginning of my cross country road trip.

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Oly CLAW event at the Brotherhood in May– a great night.

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Montana in the apple tree outside of Melanie and Hukee’s house, May 2015, Olympia, WA.

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Poppy amongst the ferns at Catherine’s house– this was became a very meditative image for me. Shelton, WA.

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The Oregon coast at sunset during my letterpress workshop at the Sitka Center, May 2015.

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Proof of my continued existence.

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Sunrise traveling east somewhere in Idaho, June 2015.

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Back in Albuquerque, after deciding to move to Flagstaff. Half of my storage unit. July 2015.

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Neither Montana nor myself were very impressed with the apartment we took sight unseen in Flagstaff. August 2015.

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Life begins over again in Arizona, August 2015.

 

Bandelier National Monument, March 2015

Written on October 6, 2015

In the middle of March, a small faction of the Tamarind Adventure Club participated in a day-hike excursion to Bandelier National Monument. We walked the well-known Frijoles Canyon Trail, visiting cliff dwellings along the canyon walls as well as the Alcove House, which I documented in an earlier post from a solo visit in November. However, it was a gorgeous hike along the Tsankawi trail located approximately 12 miles outside of the canyon that truly took our collective breath away. Beautiful snow dotted mesas, gorgeous views of the Jemez mountains, primitive ruins, petroglyphs galore, and well-worn trails once hiked by the ancestral inhabitants of the area carved into the surface of the cliffs. A lovely day shared with lovely people.

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Cadillac Ranch, January 2015

Written on September 29, 2015

This past January, on our way to Amarillo, Texas via ABQ, the Tamarind crew stopped at Cadillac Ranch located directly on Route 66– The Mother Road. It was a rare, snowy mid-morning– perfect for picture-taking and tagging. Spray paint cans littered the ground, as visitors are actively encouraged to add their own art to the rusted out caddy hulks. It was a fun stop to stretch our legs and climb on old cars.

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Pictured above, from left to right: Justin, Maria, Nora, Alice, Jackie, Mark, Danielle, Amanda and Candice.

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Pictured above, left to right: Maria, Danielle, Candice, Justin, Jackie, and Nora!

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Amanda peaking around the corner of the enhanced Tamarind chop, now with GOLD.

 

Paliza Canyon Goblin Colony, January 18, New Mexico

Written on September 29, 2015

Back in January, the Tamarind Adventure Club headed into the Jemez Wilderness in search of the Paliza Canyon Goblin Colony. After fighting our way through some rugged, icy single lane dirt roads, we finally arrived at a nearby campground– the closest we could get to the trailhead in winter. We approached the canyon from above and behind, hiking up an old service road for a couple miles before finally sighting the Goblin Colony. Had we approached from the designated trail head, there’s no way we would have discovered the extent of the hoodoo colony in the tree line above the canyon floor.

As always, we were lucky amateurs, relying on collective hunches.

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Do you see the melting goblin faces? Also, it was eerily quiet. These forms really blocked sound from traveling; it was easy to get separated from folks.

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Danielle!

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Alligator Juniper! The first time I’d ever seen it… Now these trees feel like old friends.

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Some of my favorite people, having lunch on a canyon wall, overlooking goblins.

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On our way out… the canyon floor of course had significantly more sow accumulation. This was the perfect winter day hike!

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Tent Rocks national Monument, Day After Thanksgiving 2014

Written on July 11, 2015

The day after Thanksgiving, myself and a couple other Tamarindos went for a hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, affectionately known as ‘Tent Rocks.’ We weren’t the only folks with this idea; there was a line to get up the mountain! Regardless, the hike is beautiful. We climbed to the top of the outcrop seen to the left in the photo below.

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Bandelier National Monument, Fall 2014

Written on July 10, 2015

In October, I took a solo day trip to Bandelier National Monument, winding along the backroads and approaching Frijoles Canyon from the southwest from the Jemez Mountains, which was a beautiful drive. The peak tourist season was winding down, but I still had to take a shuttle into the canyon from a neighboring town. Several years ago, a massive flood washed away a significant portion of the parking lot in the canyon. The weather was warm yet foreboding; the sky was darkly ominous. Shortly after entering the canyon, a thunderstorm erupted overhead. I took shelter in hollowed, hand-carved room dug into the canyon face, just like the ancestral pueblo peoples did over 500 years ago. After the rain subsided, I continued walking toward the end of the canyon, finally reaching the Alcove House, an ancestral pueblo dwelling located 140 feet above the canyon floor. Four wooden ladders and dozens of stairs carved into the cliff lead you up the rock face to the sacred Kiva. The view was breathtaking and worth the sometimes-nerve-wracking climb for this explorer who likes to keep her feet firmly planted on the ground.

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Looking into Frijoles Canyon from above.

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